A nearly empty Walmart ammunition shelf from May 2021
A nearly empty Walmart ammunition shelf from May 2021 / Stephen Gutowski

Analysis: How Biden’s Russian-Ammo Ban Will Further Strain Supply Right Away [Member Exclusive]

On Friday, the Biden Administration announced it would no longer grant permits to import Russian-made guns and ammo.

The administration said the sanctions are tied to the poisoning and jailing of dissident Aleksey Navalny. The rule will deny all future importation permits but won’t cancel those already operating. Some of the current permits could last for another year or two.

So, why does this matter today if some companies can still import Russian ammo for another year or longer?

Well, the reality is the ammo market is already overrun with demand and short on supply. Anything that comes in the door of major retailers such as Lucky Gunner goes right back out. And things were already unlikely to get back to normal for several years.

A new ban, even one whose full effect will be slightly delayed, will cause panic buying immediately.

Plus, while Russian brands like TulAmmo make common calibers from 9mm to 5.56 NATO, they also specialize in calibers utilized in Russian-designed guns such as the AK-47. People used to buying Russian-made ammo for their Russian guns will probably start stockpiling now. And some could even decide against buying guns chambered in popular Russian calibers, which would push even more demand into calibers more common in the United States.

All of that equals more demand for fewer rounds even before the shipments from Russia begin to slow down.

This, of course, presents an opportunity for American ammo manufacturers to branch out into new calibers. Or for other countries to import more of their ammo. But with demand the way it already is and most manufacturers already beyond their capacity to produce more, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to catch up to what they already have orders for, let alone start producing entirely new product lines.

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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